I’ve been getting more and more requests from clients wanting outfits with interesting layered combinations. These types of looks are comprised of simple, classic pieces (things everyone should have in his closet), but when pulled together correctly, they become a whole greater than its parts. It's clear that some thought was put into the look, but there's no risk of looking like you tried too hard. If you’re the kind of person who wants to be noticed for your style but not right away (i.e., “who’s the sharp guy in the corner…?”), this style of dressing is perfect for you.In order to have a wardrobe where you can do this you must first collect enough pieces that combine well. Below are 12 essentials to get you started mixing and matching:1) Navy blazer – note: this must fit impeccably or the entire look is shot.2) Grey sportcoat – see note above. 3) Thin hoodie – I like this fleece wool one from Thinple because it’s polished despite being a hoodie.4) Great-fitting jeans – dressy and dark or weathered and sporty are fair game but please nothing crazy on the back pockets.5) Casual pants like chinos or corduroys. 6) Patterned t-shirt – this Missoni shirt would look terrific peeking out beneath a solid navy henley, under a sportcoat. 7) Henley – solid neutrals should be your first choice, but once you’ve got a few as a foundation, you can go for something with a pattern or pop of color.8) Workshirt/Shacket – denim, corduroy, flannel worn untucked and either unbuttoned or buttoned partially (to show the layers beneath). Note: when wearing with a lightweight jacket (see #12), it’s OK if the hemline on this piece is longer than the jacket. It adds to the outfit's visual texture. 9) Thin sweater – think v-neck, zip-neck, or cardigan. Cardigans in my opinion get a bad rap. They aren't just for grandpa looks. In fact, as part of an interesting layered combination, they take on a whole new life. Stylist tip: leave the top and bottom buttons undone. (Ryan Gosling, as usual with all things sartorial, knows what's up.) 10) Thick sweater – a shawl collar is always a good choice, or the one from Agnès B above I just got for a client. I love the stripes inside the collar. With menswear, the snappily-dressed devil is in the details.11) Thin outerwear-type vest – wear over or under your sportcoat (you won’t be able to button the sportcoat with the vest under it; that’s OK.) You can go for down as in this great street style shot from The Sartorialist above, or if you want a more manly man vibe, I am very much into this weathered leather number from Billy Reid. 12) Lightweight jacket – here’s a good one from Belstaff.13) Boots – most layered looks that you'll be building are going to be casual, so boots like chukkas, chelseas or lace-ups are in order to complete the look. 14) Scarf – a lot of guys think wearing scarves as part of an outfit (as opposed to just keeping warm) is “advanced” dressing. They’re right! But if you're reading this article, that's proof you're committed to the cause, and you are absolutely up for it. Here’s a shot of a well-tied scarf I saw on a mannequin last week. The way to execute this is 1. fold the scarf in half lengthwise; 2. put it around your neck with folded end on one side and loose ends on other; 3. pull loose ends through loop; 4. tighten slightly; 5. tuck one of the loose ends up into knot.Keep an open mind when shopping for a wardrobe that works for this style of dressing. Items you might not otherwise consider (like a cardigan) can suddenly become appealing when you see them in combination as part of the whole. Same goes for the Missoni shirt in #6. Maybe it feels a little much on its own, but with just a peek showing as part of a look, it’s perfect. Generally when adding layers, you’ll go from thin to thick as you move out from your body, unless you put a down vest under your sport jacket. And if you get warm, you can easily remove one layer and still have a pulled-together look. Nothing is dependent on anything else. What I really love about dressing this way is that it allows you to build a wardrobe of basic essentials ("the canon" as one of my clients calls it), but you get to play around and show your creativity in pulling together combinations.How do you like to layer your outfits?
Even if you’re still rocking shorts and polo shirts, the time is now to make plans for your cool weather wardrobe. I’ve been pounding the pavement and interwebs hard looking for the best items for my clients as the stores are flush with new merchandise. If you’re planning on doing some Fall shopping yourself, I must warn you that one of the worst things you can do is to go shopping without a plan or, at the very least, a list. Just wandering into a store aimlessly is for sure the easiest way to end up with nothing at all, or worse, to get pushed into buying a pile of clothes you’ll never wear. With that in mind, I created this list of 18 must-haves (or nice-to-haves) to inspire and keep you organized as you craft a smart Fall/Winter wardrobe.Transitional jacket -- think peacoat, car coat, or other medium-weight optionLeather jacket -- here’s how it should fitOvercoat -- buy now while the selection is good, and there’s still time to have one custom-madeOuterwear vest -- wool/cashmere/down, as in the header imageLined raincoat -- you can also get one with a zip-out lining, which is one of the most versatile garments you can ownDress boots -- yes, you can wear these with your suit!Bad weather boots -- look for options that are waterproof and have rubber soles for tractionWool/cashmere socks -- if you're tall or have very long legs, get ones that go over your calves so your legs remain covered when you sitWool/cashmere ties -- perfect for frigid days in combination with a scarfHat, gloves and scarf -- don't wait for someone to give these to you as a holiday gift!Winter-weight casual pants -- Incotex makes great corduroys and moleskin pantsHeavier-weight sport shirts -- a trim-fitting flannel is a great weekend go-toHeavier weight dress shirts -- in more tightly-woven fabrics like oxfordFall/Winter suits, dress pants and sportcoats -- look for tweeds, flannels and heavier-weight worstedsMenswear vest -- wear with jeans for a stylish going-out lookSweaters -- v-necks, polo-necks, henleys, thin cardigans and thick shawl-collared cardigans are good optionsLong sleeve tops -- in thick materials like waffle-knitHoodie -- look for one that's super soft and trim-fittingRemember, autumn is all about layering, so even if for example the idea of a thin cardigan or outerwear vest don't appeal to you, think about them in combination with the rest of your wardrobe. The more you can mix and match pieces, the more versatile what you own will be.If you'd like more tailored help with your Fall/Winter wardrobe, contact me. I'm currently booking appointments for the first week of October.Cheers,Julie
If you’re like a lot of guys, you have an ok time putting together a basic business-friendly look with your suit: blue shirt – check; silk tie – check; lace-up oxfords – check. But what do you do when you want to dress your suit down for situations that are more barbecue than boardroom? Below are five stylish ways to inject your everyday suit with a more casual aesthetic.1) Ditch the tie. This works especially well with a button-down collar because it frames your face so nicely (see how much better Brad Pitt looks in the image above with his shirt at attention than George Clooney does with his flopping to the sides?).2) Swap your dress shirt for a casual shirt. Think polo, nice t-shirt, sweatshirt, or rugby. The key here is for these pieces to be fitted so there’s no bunching beneath the suit.
3) Hop into a pair of simple and classic neutral sneakers (I call them “social sneaks,” not to be confused with the sneakers you work out in), and you’ve got instant easygoing mojo.4) I cannot extol the virtues of the henley enough, which is why it gets its own entry separate from #2. Most guys have crewnecks and v-necks, but henleys are next level stuff. Again, the key here is for it to be trim through the body. The guy in the image below gets extra points for the addition of a v-neck beneath his henley -- As I’ve said before, the additional layer adds visual interest.
5) When you add breezy or cheeky accessories like a ribbon belt, mix-and-match bracelets, or a camo-print handkerchief, the informal swag is automatic. And as always, wear them with confidence!
What do you think? How do you like to chillax your suit?
A big thank you to The Wall Street Journal for including me in the recent article, Spring Shoes for Men Step Brightly. The piece discusses how men's footwear is trending toward colorful uppers or soles and "statement" elements like spikes and wild patterns; my advice on how to incorporate this trend into your wardrobe is included at the end of the article.After speaking with the WSJ reporter, I had an outfit brainstorm, and below I share with you a few specific looks that incorporate Spring 2012's shoe trends.
1) A great Spring combo would include a pair of neutral shoes with a neon sole like the bucks, above, from T&F Slack. Pair them with white straight-leg jeans and a denim shirt for a casual night out.
3) If neon shoes are too much of a commitment for you, you might dip your toes in the trend by adding color via your laces, as with the Esquivel shoes above. Because the color pop is not too prominent, you can play around by incorporating other colors into your look. Pair these boots with dressy jeans and a sport shirt that has some yellow in the pattern, like the one below from Polo Ralph Lauren. The reason yellow and purple work together is that they are complementary colors, meaning that they live opposite from each other on the color wheel. When used together, complementary colors intensify each other and create a harmonious color scheme.
4) For a shoe where the detail (as opposed to the color) is the statement, like Jimmy Choo's "provocative paisley" slippers above, you want to keep the rest of your look tailored and simple. Wear these with a midnight three-piece suit for a posh night out, or for a more casual event, try a medium grey dress shirt and black or charcoal grey pants. The important thing to keep in mind with shoes like this is that they need to be in line with your personality, and wearing them with confidence is key. (As an aside, check out this fun Bond-style video detailing the Burlesque silhouettes hidden in the print.)
I hope the post above gives you ideas for your own combinations if you decide to rock Spring 2012's shoe trends. Let me know what outfits you put together!